Is this the stupidest burglar of all time? A very unsophisticated burglar sealed his fate when after stealing his neighbour’s curtains, he couldn’t resist putting them up in his own home. The crime was discovered when Jason Williams’ neighbours walked past his house and noticed their missing nets hanging in his front window.
When asked why he had his neighbours’ nets adorning his windows, Williams could not give a plausible explanation. He did later confess to police, admitting to stealing the net curtains as well as tools, two glass ash trays and some lamb steaks from the freezer.With even Williams’ barrister admitting that his client was ‘not very sophisticated’, the defence claimed that Williams’ decision to hang the net curtains in his own window demonstrated his lack of awareness of the seriousness of the crime.
Alistair Smith, defending, argued that this was merely an ‘opportunistic’ crime. However, Williams was sentenced to two years and five months in jail under the ‘three strikes’ rule as this was his fourth burglary of a dwelling and the law requires a custodial sentence of at least three years unless this would be unjust.When sentencing, Judge Gordon Risius did take into account Williams’ guilty plea and the time he spent in jail on remand. Judge Gordon Risius told Williams that he had taken advantage of his neighbours’ situation as they had recently left their home due to a previous burglary. Despite boarding the windows and leaving only items of little value, this did not deter Williams.
Although the neighbours felt the need to board their windows to prevent crime a number of police forces in the UK have actually acknowledged that net curtains and voiles can in fact be useful in preventing crime. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Force stated that ‘Burglars particularly like homes that do not have net curtains, as they can see the property inside the home from the street’.